Woodward, Okla. —
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE ENERGY INDEX?
Evans and Bannister said the significance of the Oklahoma Energy Index is tied to the significance of the oil and natural gas industry to the overall state economy.
"The oil and gas industry is Oklahoma's most vibrant industry and its success is intertwined with the success of Oklahoma's economy as a whole," Bannister said.
He then provided some statistics showing just how important the energy industry is in the state.
"When you look at the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma, one out of every 6 jobs comes directly from the oil and natural gas industry. One out of every $3 spent in Oklahoma comes from the oil and natural gas industry. And I've seen different studies that say between 22 and 27 percent of all taxes paid in Oklahoma come from the oil and natural gas industry," Bannister said. "So this industry is vital to Oklahoma, vital to our economic success and vital to the success of working families as well because working Oklahomans work in the oil and gas industry."
Having a tool like the Oklahoma Energy Index which can help monitor that success may prove to be vital too, he said.
Evans agreed, saying "I think it (OEI) will become a useful tool for people to reference over time and to see how well the energy industry is doing, see what the struggles and successes are for the state's most important industry."
The more the index comes to be used, then the more officials can use it to track trends and even "help forecast what will come next" for the energy industry and the overall economy, Bannister said.
"The 2 takeaways from the index are first what is the pulse of the state's most important industry, and then what does that mean about the pulse of our state economy in the months and years ahead," Evans said.
The economist said he believes the index will prove out that when there is an uptick in the oil and gas industry then the state economy can look forward to experiencing a similar uptick.
"If the state's most important industry is getting better then it's likely, given the relationships over the last 15 years, that the effect will be the overall economy is getting better too," he said.
Bannister said he believes the index should also become a useful tool for policy-makers in Oklahoma.
"Since the success of the state of Oklahoma is so dependent on the success of it's most important industry, then I think the index will be important for policy leaders in our state as it tracks the health of that industry," he said. "Because even for our local civic leaders to be able to make decisions, especially decisions that could impact the oil and natural gas industry, I think you have to be able to understand where the energy industry stands today, where it has been in the recent past and what you think it might do moving forward."
To help policy-makers and the public stay up to date with the constant fluctuations in the energy industry, Bannister said OIPA will release the latest Oklahoma Energy Index numbers "to statewide media on the fourth Thursday of every month."
"The index will also be available on the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association's website, OIPA.com," he said.